Dec 26, 2020

Francis Lewis High School: Over-Achievers in the Heart of Flushing, Queens


This post was supposed to be on A Gay Guide to Small Town Beefcake

"Parallels": Not Many Parallel Worlds, a Lot of Heterosexual Angst


For Christmas this year, there was no travel, no shopping except online, no eating out in restaurants, and no parties.  The up-side: I usually hear the horribly depressing, soul-destroying, pit-of-despair-inducingt "Haaaave youuuurself" song about 20 times (well, the first few words, as i drop whatever I'm doing and run away).  This year, just once!  That's what I call a Merry Christmas!

The down-side: lots of movies.  And Bob and I have different tastes.  If I have to sit through one more Marvel superhero feeling angst....

For Christmas, we each got to choose a movie.  Bob chose Logan  (Wolverine from the X-Men feeling angst and finally dying, along with just about everybody on the cast list, including people introduced and given a back story for no other reason than to be killed).  I chose Parallel (2020), about "four friends who discover a doorway to parallel worlds."

Oh, boy, parallel worlds!  Maybe they'll find one where the British won the Revolutionary War, or the South won the Civil War, or there was no Industrial Revolution, or Hillary won the 2016 election.

Or maybe they'll find a whole community of parallel-world-hoppers, and have to stop the Big Bad who is causing havoc across the multiverse.

No such luck.  The differences are tiny.  A children's book has character names spelled differently.  Ryan Gosling starred in Frankenstein.  

Boo!  But it was my Christmas choice, and I paid to rent it, so we kept watching.  Maybe there would be a gay subtext, or == dare I hope -- a gay character.

We start off with an intriguing scene:  A middle-aged photographer is accosted in her house by a masked stranger, who kills her, then takes off the mask: it's her!  Then the doppelganger climbs into bed next to her husband.

Then things go downhill.  

We are introduced to the four friends, app developers -- their latest project, Meter Maid, allows you to sell your primo parking space to other people who are driving around looking (in big cities where you spend 45 minutes looking and end up parking two miles away, that would be a godsend).  They discover a magic mirror leading to almost-identical parallel worlds, and use it to their advantage.

1. Leena (Georgia King) looks exactly like a younger version of the middle-aged photographer from Scene 1, and she's an artist, so I assumed that we were looking into her future.  But no such luck -- they just look identical and have similar jobs to be confusing.  She copies the grotesque, disgusting work of a famous artist in the parallel world and becomes famous, but feels bad because it's not her own ceative vision.

2. Noel (Martin Wahlstrom) brings over the technology from a parallel world and passes himself off as the developer, thereby becoming rich and famous.  He also terrorizes a rival's parallel world doppelganger.  Spoiler alert: things go terribly wrong

3. Josh (Mark O'Brien) has a gay-subtext buddy-bond with Noel, but it is overwhelmed by his goal: he has sex with the parallel-world Girl Next Door.  (He couldn't have sex with her counterpart in his own world because of her jealous boyfriend). Spoiler alert: Things go terribly wrong.

4. Devin (Ami Ameen) looks for a parallel world where his father is still alive.  He doesn't express any heterosexual interest, so I figured he must be gay.  But no, in the last scene he hooks up with Leena, whom he has barely spoken to throughout the movie.  You have to end with a boy-girl kiss, no matter how contrived.

Beefcake: No

Gay Characters: No

Heterosexism: They discuss the bodaciousness of ladies quite often, and the last-scene falling-in-love comes out of nowhere.  

Merry Christmas: Any movie that comes out in December with no "Haave youuurself" in the soundtrack is a good movie. 

Dec 24, 2020

The Crosby Kids

Bing Crosby (1903-1977), roommate of gay jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke, grew up to be the laid-back crooner that had 1940s teenyboppers swooning, starred in White Christmasand had six sons. Growing up as celebrity kids took its toll on them, as did Bing's harsh, authoritarian parenting style, and his insistence that they follow in his footsteps.  None of them became famous, but they had some success in the early 1960s performing as the Crosby Boys, and some of them were familiar to the Boomer generation as actors.

1. Gary (1933-1995), left, starred in some lightweight romantic comedies, such as Mardi Gras (1958) and Two Tickets to Paris (1962), and guest starred on many tv series.  In middle age he played authority figures on Adam-12 and Emergency.

2. Davis (1934-1991) acted only occasionally, notably with his brothers and the Rat Pack gang in Sergeants Three (1962).

3. Philip (1934-2004), Davis's twin brother, had two buddy bonding roles, in Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964)  and None But the Brave (1965).  Coincidentally, he buddied with Rat Packer Frank Sinatra in both.

4. Lindsay (1938-1989) starred in several outlaw-biker movies, including The Glory Stompers (1967) and Bigfoot (1970).

5. Harry (born 1958), left, was best known to the Boomer Generation, playing Bill, the camp counselor who plays strip Monopoly and gets slashed in Friday the 13th (1980). He had small roles in several other movies. Today he is an investment banker.

6. Nathaniel (born 1961) (left, hugging Harry) stayed out of acting, and coincidentally the only one who has any gay rumors.  He's a professional golfer.

Dec 23, 2020

Steven Ford: from President's Son to Soap Hunk

Born in 1956, Steven Ford was the youngest son of Gerald Ford, President of the United States from 1974 to 1977.  By that time he was in college far from the White House, studying ranching at Utah State University.  But the acting bug bit, and he started making the rounds.

With or without the cachet of having a famous Dad, he got lots of two-fisted roles in Escape from New York, The Eleventh Commandment, and Body Count.  

But his blond hair, square jaw, and chiseled physique got Steve more attention as a heartthrob.  From 1981 to 1987, he starred on the soap The Young and the Restless as private detective Andy Richards (right), where he buddy-bonded with fellow p.i. Paul Williams (Doug Davidson, left).  The extremely girlish-looking bottom guy is Michael Damian, who played singer Danny Romalotti.

Afterwards Steve hosted the tv series Secret Service and continued to act, with roles opposite action heroes like Al Pacino in Heat, Richard Griego in Against the Law, and Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers. Today he spends most of his time on his ranch and giving motivational speeches about alcoholism.

Steve has never married, so he's been the subject of lots of gay rumors.His Mom, former First Lady Betty Ford, was a proponent of gay marriage.

Dec 22, 2020

"Cougar Town": Can A Rich White Heterosexual Get Laid at Age 40?

Gay men in their 40s and 50s are twink magnets.  By the time you reach your 60s (which I did last month), you are at the pinnacle of hotness; you have to swat them away.  It's considered perfectly normal in gay communities for a couple to differ in age by 20 or even 30 years.  Apparently straight men in their 40s and 50s have sorority girls lining up to have sex with them.  But heterosexual women over 40 are perceived of as "gross."  If they manage to get a younger guy interested, they are ridiculed: "What's wrong with you?  You're not a sexual being!  Act your age!"

That's the premise of Cougar Town (2009-2015), which Bob and I just started watching on Amazon Prime.  Jules (Courtney Coxm who had just finished playing a young adult on Friends) is in her 40s and recently divorced , though I'm not sure why:  her ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt, above) is her best friend, always stopping over to offer advice on the crisis du jour.  

She lives in a palatial McMansion on a cul-de-sac on South Florida with her teenage son Travis (Dan Byrd), who is embarrassed by everything she says or does. 

She has a great job as a high-power realtor, selling McMansions to noveau-riche Florida couples.  

Her best friend (Christa Miller), who lives next door with her husband (Ian Gomez) and new baby, is constantly inviting her over for "wine and Scrabble."  

Sounds like a perfect life.  So, if this were a musical, what would Jules' "I want" song be about?  Sex.

I want to get laid today, or next week, or sometime before May.

But I'm 40 -- yuck!  And gross!  And all the men my age are broken, married, or gay.

So, why not date guys in their 20s?  Because then everybody will make fun of her.  She makes fun of the "cougars," who date guys young enough to be their sons.  

But why the double standard?  Both Bobby and her cul-de-sac neighbor BJ (Chris Zylka, left) bring home a different young girl every night.  Plus she gets encouragement from her party-girl coworker (Busy Phillips), who is in her 30s, and man-hungry boss (Carolyn Hennesy), who is in her 60s; both of them bring home guys in their 20s every night.  

So Jules gets out there and scores a hookup with the hunky Matt (David Clayton Rogers).  

Complications ensue: ex-husband and son catch her giving Matt a blow job by the pool (ex: "Hey, you told me you didn't like that!")..  

So when they begin a relationship, Jules insists that they sneak around: Matt hides until after her son leaves for the night  with his friend Ryan (Lil J McDaniel), and has to leave himself at 5:00 am, before any of the neighbors wake up and see him.

In the second episode, Jules is upset because she has no "war stories" about her wild 20s: she got pregnant and married at age 22 (no wild college days)?  So she goes out for a wild night, only to find that she's too old to stay up until 3:00 am, she gets drunk on two beers, and trying an athletic sexual position throws her back out.  

So, is it ok for people in their 40s to play Scrabble, watch tv, and go to bed by 9:00 pm, or are you supposed to be hanging out at the bars into your 60s?  I don't understand what this show is getting at.

In a subplot, Jules accidentally used a sexy picture for her realtor signs, and a junior high kid (Tyler Steelman) keeps stealing them to masturbate to (why does he need a roomful?).  Jules finds this extremely embarrassing, and tracks him down to yell at him.  What's the problem?  She has no control over who finds her attractive.

Rich People:  These people are all so affluent that their problems seem trivial, but that may be the pandemic talking.

White People:  The map in the opening seems to be zeroing in on Fort Myers, Florida, where 34% of the population is white, but here, Hispanic people do not exist. Two minor characters are black: Travis's best friend and the bouncer at the club (Gregory Hinton), to whom Jules says "Wow, you are really black!"

Gay People:  No. Several cast members have played gay characters in other series, but here, everyone seems obsessed with heterosexual sex except Travis.  But his main job is to be embarrassed by his mother, so he didn't really have time in the two episodes I watched.

Beefcake: Tons.  There are two shots of Courtney Cox in bikini underwear, but other than that, it's all shirtless and underwear-clad men all the time.

My Grade: The problems of rich white heterosexuals in 2009, which seems like ages ago. I would have put up the lack of gay and ethnic minority representation back in the day, but not anymore.   Meh.

Dec 21, 2020

"Godless": A Godforsaken Reduplication of Jigsaw-Puzzle Plotlines About Men in a Town Without Men

on Netflix, is reputedly about an Old West town occupied entirely by women, with the two major characters a lesbian couple.  Wow, a tv series about a1960s radical lesbian separatist commune!  I shy away from it for several years because of the title -- "godless," keying into the myth that when you are gay, God abandons you.  Plus if it's all !00% women, there won't be any beefcake!  But Bob likes queer representatioon in all of its forms, and we're running out of things to watch, so...

Scene 1: Creede, Colorado 1884.  A stark, foggy landscape.  Howling wind. Ugly Moustache Guy and his posse ride into town.  All of the men have been killed -- some hanged, some shot, and some in a train wreck.  A woman kneels by a body, singing hymns.  

So the town wasn't built as a women-only lesbian feminist commune.  All of the men were killed.

Meanwhile, Young Guy (Jack O'Connell) rides up to an isolated ranch house.  He's been shot in the neck.  A woman and her preteen daughter take care of him.  

Meanwhile, Scary  Old Guy and his possee knock on the door of Elijah Graham, M.D. (Wait -- I thought there were no women in town...  So everyone was killed except the town doctor?).  He's been shot in the arm, and it will have to be amputated.  He introduces himself as Frank Griffin, and says "Don't worry, I won't die.  I've seen my death, and this isn't it."

I'm lost.  Who are these people?  And for a town with no men, there certainly are a lot of men.  

Scene 2: An elderly Paiute woman treats Young Guy by burning his wounds.  Gross!  But at least he has a shirtless shot.

Meanwhile, Yet Another Man in the Town Without Men awakens in an Indian village, with mud or something covering his eyes.  Grosser and grosser!  He walks out of the hut nude -- nice butt and flash of penis -- and complains that the cure isn't working.  

Meanwhile, Elijah has finished amputating the arm of Scary Old Guy (yes, we see the bloody arm).  

And at the Ranch, Young Guy wakes up and tries to dress.

Yet Another Man is wearing a sheriff's badge, so I'll call him Sheriff.  He sees well enough to pick flowers and put them on his wife's grave. 

He's about to die ("my twilight has come"), so he apologizes fro being a screw-up, and for disliking their daughter  Trudy ("but I can't forgive her for what she done to you").  Apparently wife died in childbirth.  

Pan out to the tombstone.  Sheriff's wife died  in 1882, two years before the town lost all its men.  Now we just need to meet Trudy to find out how much time has passed.

I'm actually cheating.  This is the second time I've gone through this episode.  The first time, I had no idea what was going on.  The second time, I'm stopping the streaming and taking notes, and paying attention to seemingly trivial details, and I think I've almost got it figured out.

Scene 3: Sheriff rides into town, where women are working as barbers and carpenters.  They don't seem to like him very much. 

Meanwhile, Young Guy goes outside and gets introduced: Alice Fletcher, her Paiute mother-in-law, and her son Truckee (sorry, they have long hair, so I thought they were a girl -- besides a town with only women)

Sheriff goes home, where Middle Aged Woman berates him for not greeting the Little Girl, who is deaf (I'll bet one of them is his daughter Trudy!) He berates her for wearing Albert's pants and hat -- a woman wearing men's clothes looks ridiculous.  Women do all of the masculine-coded jobs in town, and you're worried about costume?

The cure didn't work -- it just gave him an erection.

Aha!  The woman is Aunt Maggie, so the deaf girl must be Trudy, so it's been about five years since Wife died, or two years since the men were all killed.  

Scene 4: Scary Old Guy and his possee invade a church. (Hey, there are men in the congregation!  I thought....).

 He berates them for committing adultery, fornicating, and not Loving Thy Neighbor.  If they don't change their ways, Roy Goode will come and kill them all.  (I guess Roy Goode is like Krampus)

Scene 5: Night.  Alice from the Ranch is teaching Truckee to read.  Later she goes out to the barn and tells Young Guy that as soon as he's well, he's got to leave.  But he proves that he's good with horses, so she changes her mind.

Meanwhile, Ugly Moustache Guy from Scene 1 and his posse are scouring the hills, looking for Krampus, aka Roy Goode (probably Young Guy).

Back at the Ranch: a young woman shows up with her baby, which has scarlet fever, and there's no doctor in town (What about Elijah? Is the in a different town from the women-only town?).  Alice agrees to use Paiute medicine. 

Young Guy asks how Alice, the Paiute woman, and Truckee ended up on the ranch, and she  tells a long, convoluted story (good, the plot's not complicated enough yet!) about how she came to town to meet her fiancee, but on the way back to the ranch, they were caught in a tidal wave, and he was killed.  That doesn't really answer the question.  And Truckee is obviously from a second marriage, so there's another dead husband, no doubt with another complicated back story.

Scene 6:
Ugly Moustache Guy rides into town and stops to flirt with the schoolmarm and stare at a cowboy's bulge.  He introduces himself as the Marshall.   

Next he visits Sheriff McNue (The Blind Sheriff from Scene 2!  If it was another sheriff, I'd be outta here!)

He's looking for Frank Griffin -- the Scary Old Guy who got his arm amputated.  He gives us a plot dump about what happened in Creede  (aha, a different town from the wonen-only town, just to make things confusing!): 

Scary Old Guy and his possee tried to rob a train, but Krampus, aka Roy Goode (aha!) arrived and stole the money.  He also shot Scary Old Guy in the arm (aha!).

Two members of his gang (apparently regulars, played by Matthew and Russel Dennis-Lewis) started to rape a young woman, so the townsfolk grabbed them and tried to lynch them.  Scary Old Guy didn't like this, so he and his posse killed everyone in town.

Ok, so we have three towns:

1. Creede, where everybody was murdered. They made it look like men only in Scene 1 in order to confuse us.

2. Unnamed town with Elijah and the church.

3. Unnamed town with no men except the Sheriff , the Undertaker who plays chess with him, and the unnamed cowboy with the bulge.  What happened to the men?  Maybe the tidal wave that killed Alice's fiancee?  

I went back and searched for the name of  Town #3.  If you freeze frame when Sheriff enters, you see the name on a building in the distance -- LaBelle. Or it could be the name of a store.

Scene 7:  At the taven, the Marshall discovers what happened to almost all of the men in Town #3 (LaBelle, probably) -- mining accident.  Nothing to do with the dead people in Scene 1 or the tidal wave in Alice's story.. Then why did I sit through all of those plotlines twice?

Scene 8: Sheriff rides up to the Ranch to ask about the stranger Alice has living with her. Krampus admits to being Roy Goode, who stole the train money from Scary Old Guy, so his posse would chase him and not kill everyone in the town.  A noble act, but Sheriff arrests him anyway.

If we have a sheriff, why do we need a marshall, too? They have the same job.  

Last scene: Marshall looks down on a town (I think LaBelle)  and says "God help you folks."

God help us for sitting through this twie, plus freeze framing, to figure out what's going on.  Why three towns, and the one you think it is, it isn'?  Why two tragedies -- or three, if Alice's tidal wave is something different.  A marshall and a sheriff/  Two bad guys, of whom one might not be bad? Why reduplicate the complexity?  Thisi isn't entertainment, it's homework.

And where are the lesbians?

Dec 20, 2020

Corentin and Kim

Like Alix and Enak, Jonny Quest and Hadji, and a dozen others, Corentin and Kim were a teenage European-Indian homoromantic pair. Belgian cartoonist Paul Cuvelier began painting the androgynous, muscular teenager in 1943.

Herge, creator of Tintin, saw them and suggested a comic strip, which appeared in  Tintin magazine beginning in 1946.

The comic story begins with Corentin at age 14, a Breton boy in the 18th century who runs away from his abusive uncle, stows away aboard a ship, and is shipwrecked on a desert island.  Soon he teams up with an Indian boy named Kim.  They also add a gorilla named Belzebuth and a tiger named Moloch to their entourage.

Corentin was aimed at somewhat younger children than Alix, so his adventures were less complex, but the backgrounds were just as spectacular, and there was nearly as much nudity (especially as the two boys aged into muscular late adolescence).


Seven comic albums appeared between 1950 and 1974, rather a paltry number compared to Alix, sending Corentin and Kim to India, China, Italy, Egypt, and back to Brittany (Corentin's grandson also appeared in the 1800's Wild West).  There were also novels, an animated cartoon series (1987),  and an original comic strip, translated into German, Spanish, and Dutch.

Nevertheless, Corentin was never as successful as Alix, and Paul Cuvelier less concerned with homoromance; eventually Corentin gets a girlfriend, and many of Cuvelier's other works featured female nudity.

Alix and Enak: Jonny and Hadji in Ancient Rome

If the gay kids of Britain had it good, then France must have been a Paradise of beefcake and bonding: bandes-dessinee (hard-bound comic books) overbrimmed with same-sex couples, including Tintin and Captain Haddock, Spirou and Fantasio, Corentin and Kim, and Alix and Enak.

 Alix, who premiered in 1948, was a Roman citizen from the province of Gaul (modern France) who travels through the ancient world,  through Gaul, Egypt, Persia, and eventually as far afield as India, China, and the Pacific, having death-defying adventures in historically accurate settings (give or take a few hundred years) with beautifully detailed backgrounds.

Alix is blond-hared, handsome, muscular, and frequently nude.

That's right, nude.

His creator, Jacques Martin, had no qualms about introducing rear and occasional frontal nudity into his strips.

But that's not all.  Alix is accompanied by his boyfriend Enak, a slightly younger Egyptian, dark skinned, equally handsome, muscular, and nude.

Sort of a Hadji to his Jonny Quest, or a Raji to his Terry.

In the early books, they have no interest in girls; they are devoted to each other, rescuing each other from deadly danger over and over again, saying things like "I won't leave without you!" and "If anything were to happen to you. . . ."

In the books published since the 1980s, they occasionally get girlfriends, but only as momentary dalliances; nothing can interfere with their devotion to each other.

Thirty volumes have appeared, along with some "straight' history of the ancient world illustrated by Alix comics. They have never been translated into English, but you don't need to read French to enjoy the beautifully detailed backgrounds -- or the beefcake.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...